Samsung, Others Unveil First 3G Linux Phone

Jeff Berg
CANNES, France — A group of mobile technology developers has unveiled the first Linux-based 3G mobile phone during the 3GSM World Congress conference taking place in Cannes this week.

Infineon Technologies, along with Samsung and Trolltech, a company that specialized in producing Linux-based embedded software, revealed a new UMTS/EDGE protoype mobile phone that allows video calls and video streaming, along with stereo speakers, 3-D audio and advanced Java gaming.

The phone also uses Samsung’s S3C24A0 application processor and includes a built-in camera module.

“Linux will secure a significant share of the feature and smartphone segment market in the next design cycle, especially due to its openness and low costs advantages,” said Dr. Hermann Eul, executive vice president and general manager of Infineon’s communication business group.

Linux-based operating systems have come into vogue with retailers looking to create low-cost alternatives recently, with Wal-Mart leading the charge by unveiling sub-$500 desktops that use a Linux-based operating system.

The new Linux phone is compatible with both the UMTS network standard as well as slightly slower speed EDGE network technology. Infineon’s model uses the Trolltech Qtopia Linux front-end.

“The Linux operating system gives manufacturers independence and control,” said Haavard Nord, CEO of Trolltech. “Qtopia software is the face of Linux on mobile phones.”

According to the group of companies, using a Linux-based operating system allows vendors greater control over branding and user interface, particularly because of the large Linux developer community.